Four Things You Can Do to Improve Your Relationship

According to Harriet Lerner, PhD, celebrated author of The Dance of Anger, ‘It takes two people to couple up and get married, but only one to make a relationship better.’ She believes that if you wait for your spouse to change first, your relationship wellness will only suffer, and your emotional wellbeing could also be at risk. In her new book, Marriage Rules, Harriet outlines 100 clear-cut, everyday ways to improve your marriage – starting with you and your own behaviour, and we picked out a few interesting examples.

1. Just bite the bullet – Let’s say your partner keeps going on about something going on at work, and you’re sick of it coming up all the time. Rather than waiting for the next time your partner brings it up, you need to initiate that very conversation. Letting your partner get it all out in on fell swoop will make them dwell on the issue less. You don’t need to cheer your partner up or offer solutions; you just have to listen.

2. Sum it up in three sentences or less – When there’s something you’d like to talk about, but your partner says “I’m not good at talking”, what they really mean is that there’s too much information to process, and your partner will shut down. To you, your partner not cooking dinner when they said they would may represent one of many incidences where they’ve let you down, but making it about that won’t solve anything. Say; “You said you’d cook dinner, and you didn’t” when describing the problem, and stop there.

3. Forget the word “foreplay” – It’s true that most couples need to talk more about sex, and no one is saying that foreplay is a bad thing, but clunky vocabulary like this isn’t helpful. Foreplay is not a sexy word and, moreover, it implies that whatever you do short of intercourse is just something you do to get ready.

4. Do what you do best – A lot of couples seek expert advice for ways to make their relationship better, but the truth is that you and your partner are a unique combination, and your relationship works differently to everyone else’s. Celebrate the wonderful thing that is your relationship, and name the little things that you’ve done to make your partner happier in the past. Maybe you have been known to clean your partner’s car for them, or bake them something as a surprise. Once you have your list, try doing them again and soon they will reciprocate.

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